Funimation // 2008 // 45 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power (Retired) // February 17th, 2010
The girls of the Social Welfare Agency are no ordinary children...
Gunslinger Girl II: Il Teatrino proved to be a solid follow-up to the fan favorite original series. What we are presented with here is a collection of two episodes that serve as something of an extended epilogue to the series proper, though the connection is tenuous at best.
The Gunslinger Girl series centers on the young girls of Italy's Social Welfare Agency, a covert group used to quietly dispose of the government's enemies. These girls are saved from the brink of death, rebuilt with cutting edge cybernetics, and trained in the art of the kill. Each girl is paired with a "Fratella" handler, an older male counterpart who serves as manager and job coach.
What's immediately jarring about this collection of episodes is the shift in focus from the girls to their handlers, or more accurately, Jean, the morose one. This instantly changes the tone of the series, and the less than human nature of the cold-blooded "Fratella" doesn't do much to endear itself to the audience. The plots are nothing new and little more than snippets are held over from the series proper, which gives the OVA collection a sense of needlessness. It's as though these episodes were throwaway plots that couldn't quite fit into the grand scheme, and yet there wasn't enough material there to warrant a third season. There's a lot of background with the Fratella and their emotional baggage that could work in a full blown sequel series; after all, unlike the girls, these handlers know exactly what they're involved in, and the circumstances of their actions. The motives and beliefs of these unscrupulous handlers and their emotional connections (or disconnections) with their young charges could make for some captivating viewing, but it doesn't happen here.
In truth, the episodes you're getting here are really meant only for the diehard fans of the series, and could just as easily been included as extras in Funimation's release of the series proper from last year. Their quality is but a pale shadow of the best the show has to offer, and the dearth of worthwhile extras pretty much kills any recommendation of a purchase.
At least the sound and picture quality mirror that of the series release, which is to say it's definitely competent. Fans should at least be pleased with the technical merits, if not the relatively low price tag.
Guilty of being a superfluous release that should have been included with the original Gunslinger Girl II: Il Teatrino set.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 45 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Textless Open/Close